So if you buy a box of cake and frosting and prepare it, let’s face it, it’s terrible and sickening sugar/fat blandness.
But you don’t have to get super fancy to make it not suck! For one, never bother with store frosting, it’s the crappiest part. I’m not a big fan of the sickening sweetness of buttercream anyway, but making your own is really fast and easy and better tasting if that’s your thing.
You can pick up basically any boxed cake mix you want and it’s going to turn out great, cake wise. The toppings/fillings are what really make it fancy and tasty.
For example, say you have a butter/yellow cake. If you put a layer of apple jelly on the top while it’s still quite hot it will soak in a little. then top with whipped cream and it will be AMAZING tasty fluffy creamy with a touch of apple. Similarly, chocolate cake with blackberry jam and whip cream is delicious. Also, if you make any pie filling you like it makes an excellent cake filling (think Boston cream pie, but maybe a lemon cake with lemon meringue style. or butterscotch pudding and a choco cake)
Also, ganache. The not-very-expensive Ghirardelli chips melt easy in a microwave(on low with much tirring!) and then add cream till it’s the desired consistency. one of my best received cupcakes was devil’s food with white chocolate ganache, but also, ganaches go great over pudding and whip filled cakes because fluffy AND rich flavors! Also, these don’t add much to the expense if you get creative with what you already have, and a thing of fake cool whip is $1.